Twitter Spam and Scrivener

I hate spam. I really do.

A while back I volunteered to run a Twitter newsletter, using the Paper.li web software. I thought it was easy to set up, but the other person involved couldn’t make it work, so I did. I ended up volunteering to run several other community newsletters, all of them about writing.

Recently I noticed some weird stuff. I was getting the same article as the number one article day after day. After a week, I got annoyed, so I blocked that Twitter user.

Then it popped up again, different Twitter user, same article. So I blocked the article.

Then it popped up again. Different Twitter user, different article… Seriously. It just doesn’t stop.

I don’t have all off the old information. I didn’t realize what was happening at first, and didn’t keep it. Several people, who either work for Scrivener, for a Scrivener reseller, or for an affiliate, are spamming Twitter with Scrivener links. This has been going on for at least several weeks now. It may have gone on far longer. I don’t know.

I do know that I’m damned annoyed. So annoyed that I’ve stopped using Scrivener, which had been my favorite tool for writing. Let’s take a look at what happened.

The Daily Writers Compendium – first pass today – here’s where I noticed the same article, appearing again. So I blocked the person who’d tweeted the article from appearing, and looked at the paper again.

The Daily Writers Compendium – second pass today – Much to my surprise the article was still there. This time around I decided to block the site.

The Daily Writers Compendium – third pass today – Oh joy – another Scrivener advertisement. Block this one too.

The Daily Writers Compendium – fourth pass today – Finally it’s gone.

I decided to look at some other newsletters. I found the same thing, involving the same websites.

The Writer Daily

The Write Now Daily

The Publishing Weekly

The Michelle Birbeck Weekly

The Digital Writer

Res Aliens Spec Fic Daily

Last but not least, here are the two websites which are being used:

Scrivener Discount Coupon Codes – 20% Discount Off Scrivener

Love Letter to my favorite writing tool – Scrivener

There’s nothing wrong with writing about what you like. There’s nothing wrong tweeting about what you’ve written.

When you are still tweeting about a blog post four months later, you are spamming.

Too bad that Scrivener’s reputation is going to take a hit because of these jerks.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Saturday May 5, 2012

 

The Enemies List

Joe McCarthy. Richard Nixon. Bill Gates. All had Enemies Lists. Now we have the so-called Boycott Boys list. To quote Verofakto:

Oh Hi! I take it you are most worried about being listed as one of Schestowitz’ abrasive sycophants? David Schlesinger included my original article about the BoycottBoys when he first established the domain, with my permission.

So, I’m one of Schestowitz’s abrasive sycophants. Interesting. I didn’t know that myself. If you look at the actual listing for me, it says that The Mad Hatter is Pimping his blog on articles about Mono. Wow. I’m Pimpin’ M’Blog.

The link goes to a Bruce Byfield blog post titled “Let’s Settle the Mono Debate“. Neat. Byfield actually knows how to write, so linking me to him looks like a compliment. The only problem is that Byfield is totally clueless, just like Lefty Schlesinger, Verofakto, Jo Shields, and Miguel de Icaza.

It doesn’t matter whether Mono is any good. It doesn’t matter whether or not Mono is legal. It doesn’t matter whether or not Mono is a patent trap. What matters is that three years ago, Windows XP fucked up. Again. It totaled my 4 month old laptop, while I was on vacation, totally killing any chance that I’d be able to get any work done during that time. Fifteen years of using Windows. Fifteen years of fighting the biggest piece of shit on the planet to get any work done. Fifteen years of misery. This time I swore that I’d never use anything from Microsoft again.

When I got home, I tried a Ubuntu live CD on the dead laptop. Everything worked fine – except the wireless card. It took a bit of work to get the wireless card working, but from that point on, the computer ran perfectly.

Imagine my shock when I found out that Ubuntu included Microsoft technology! I did some research, and quickly worked out how to remove it. That done, I sat down and thought about what to do. Fitting out the entire Mono team with concrete overshoes was a bit of an over-reaction. Trying to get Mono removed from the default Ubuntu install seemed to be a good idea on the other hand. Anyone who wanted it, would be able to install it from the Ubuntu repositories.

Then I found out that it was in other distributions as well, and often was considered part of Gnome.

So I set out to change things. This got me on Lefty’s enemies list. Fine. I’m probably on Miguel’s enemies list too. Hell, I know I’m on the Microsoft enemies list (I have people on the inside).
That’s just too damned bad. I’m not stopping guys. I want Mono out. I want nothing to do with Microsloth. Ever. Again.

That said, it’s a free world (mostly), and if Miguel wants to keep working on something that I think is spectacularly stupid, that’s his right. In fact, I think he should keep working on it, because according to what I’ve heard, his progress is scaring the shit out of some people in Redmond. But that’s his choice.

In the meantime, I’m proud to be on Lefty’s list. It’s a badge of honor.

Oh, and if you want a great, Mono free OS, try Moon OS. It’s fantastic. And if you are an absolute pervert, and insist on running Mono, you can install it.

Trolls, trolls, trolls

I’ve been busy for the last week or so, holidays. But I just ran into something I had to share. It’s a post on the VisInsights blog titled Buzz Marketing techniques to become illegal in UK?

Why am I pointing this out? Because of a statement near the end:

Marketers globally are continuing to understand and embrace transparent conversations with consumers – it is the only way to have dialogue otherwise governments will begin to regulate as we are seeing happen in the UK.

If you are operating in an ethical manner, why would you be concerned about regulation? Based on that statement, they aren’t operating ethically. And we wondered where trolls came from.

A Response to: Fuck you, Richard Stallman and other GNU/Trolls

You’re interested in Richard Stallman? Man, you seem to be sexually confused. I’d get counseling if I were you. I mean you’re interested in a 50 plus graying geek? Sheesh.

Comedy aside, as to the rest of what you wrote, it was awfully confused. OK, so you want to rant. Think first. If you don’t think, your arguments won’t make any sense.

Anyway, I’m taking your comments out of order, but you should be able to figure it out.

It is a rant to express my core belief that freedom is open to interpretation.

I have friends in the People’s Republic of China who believe they are free. Do you believe they are free? Are they free? For that matter are you free? There are levels of freedom, but freedom itself isn’t open to interpretation. Check out the entry for “FREEDOM” at Dictionary.com, there’s no mention of “FREEDOM” being open to interpretation.

Now let’s take your GPL section. You start off with:

I believe viral copyleft licenses like GPL are evil.

Really? I think that the GPL licenses were the greatest change to computing since the disk drive was invented.

“Freedom or Death” is not freedom. Wikipedia defines freedom as “Freedom is the right to act according to ones will without being held up by the power of others.” How am I even remotely free if I *have* to license all my code under GPL if I use GPLed libraries? Isn’t the right for a person to release liberal or proprietary software come under his/her freedom too as long as it’s not harming anyone?

I want the freedom to use the BSD or MIT license in my projects. I’m preventing from even referencing GPL libraries (not LGPL) while I’m trying to make open source software available. How is this fair?

People need proprietary software for their livelihood. Yes dual licensing or selling GPLed code is possible – but maybe not completely feasible. A developer hoping to make a living from small games cannot use GPLed libraries because that would violate the law.

If Richard Stallman had to make a living from writing software rather than whatever he does, I’m curious how much of his code he’d really open-source.

I believe that projects can open source re-usable components (google => protocol buffers, facebook => thrift, microsoft => asp.net/mvc).

I will never shun anything because it’s proprietary licensing.

While I prefer open source projects like everyone because you can take a look at the inner working, there are only nine projects who’s sources I have truly looked into with good depth.

My idea of freedom includes the freedom to make it proprietary. It’s your code, you can do what you want with it. I prefer releasing under MIT/X11 license and that’s my choice.

While the GPL is all about choice, it doesn’t give me any real choice. I *have* no choice

Ironically, mono is largely GPL/LGPL as well.

You are totally free. There’s nothing stopping you from writing your own libraries, and licensing them under the MIT or BSD license if you want, or from starting a project to produce MIT or BSD licensed libraries.

But when you talk about “Freedom”, it’s all about you. What about my “Freedom”? Shouldn’t I have the freedom to write software, and license it the way I want? Shouldn’t I have the freedom to demand payment from you for using my GPL licensed software, in source code if you write something that incorporates my code? The copyright act says I do. And you shouldn’t complain that it does, after all, the same copyright act prevents someone from using Windows as the base for something and not compensating your employer.

You talk about fairness. But only fairness as regards to you. Isn’t part of fairness compensating a creator for his or her work? So why do you regard compensating me as unfair?

The bit your wrote about “Proprietary Licensing” is really confused. I will however to admit to have an IMac and two MacBooks. But 95% of the software I’ve installed on them is GPL. The quality is better.

You have the freedom to take any project you write proprietary. You don’t have the freedom to take a project I’ve written proprietary (unless you meet my terms – and I’m expensive).

There are two main mistakes I see in your thinking so far. Your first mistake is that you think that the GPL is about YOUR choice. The GPL is about MY choice. My choice to use it, and to expect anyone who wants to use my project to pay me back by using it. Your other mistake is thinking that this is about “Open Source”. It isn’t. It’s about “Free Software”, with free being defined as software that is licensed so that IT CAN NEVER BE TAKEN PROPRIETARY. That’s what this is all about.

Now let’s look at Patents, FUD, and Mono:

There are two kinds of open source users in the world – People who love open source, and people who hate microsoft and proprietary software. I’m part of the first, which one are you?

I’m the third sort, who love FREE SOFTWARE, dislike OPEN SOURCE, and don’t give a shit about proprietary software. As to Microsoft, the company is in deep financial trouble, read their SEC reports.

I know NOTHING about patent law and how dangerous having these applications on your machine can be. In other words, I know as much as you do about all of this

Wrong. Unlike you I know a lot about this, it’s part of my job. While there may not be much danger to an individual, there’s a lot of danger to organisations, such as the Free BSD Foundation.

Most open source softwares replicate some features which may be patented. Do you think there won’t be patent issues over Openoffice or Gimp which replicate commercial software’s functionality.

An interesting statement, do you have any proof that “Most open source softwares” are infringing, or is this just an opinion?

A mentor of mine told me that patents are to prevent companies from getting sued, not to sue companies.

In that case how come Microsoft sued TomTom? I’m sorry, your mentor doesn’t know what they are talking about.

You don’t want to keep a free implementation of a language on your machine, but you are okay with downloading off bittorrent and aren’t worried about getting sued.

Um, what does this have to do with “Free Software” or “Open Source Software”?

GNote represents the limit of FUD to me. Tomboy is awesome and Sandy Armstrong doubly so.

Why is Gnote FUD? It’s an example of Free Software at it’s best. A programmer had an itch, and scratched it by writing a program, then released it so others could use it. It appears to be just as competent as Tomboy. That said, neither one is worth the time and effort to use in my opinion. But again, that’s part of Free Software, the freedom not to use something.

I’m no expert on patents, but “There might be risk” sounds just like “There might not be risk”. At the end the question is whether it’s finally worth it.

You don’t appear to be an expert at anything. What I said is “There is a risk”. And there is, based on how the Patent Act operates. There is a concept called “Due Diligence“, which lays certain responsibilities on organisations like the Fedora Project Board, the Free BSD Foundation, the Ubuntu Foundation, etc.

Please read Jo Shield’s article if my intellectually devoid rant hasn’t convinced you.

I did, and I rebutted it as well. Jo was not happy that I did.

Roy Schestowitz (of boycottnovell.com) is a dick. Period. I would never respect anyone who spends more effort spreading fear and bringing things down rather than contributing anything significant.

Let’s see. Roy spots a danger to the community, and talks about it, and that isn’t contributing something significant?

On Mono and C#:

Have a look at gnome-do, which runs on mono(http://do.davebsd.com). That thing you’re feeling when you open the link is pure undiluted lust lust.

The thing I feel is undiluted yawn.

Firefox has 80,000 lines of code. The MonoDevelop project has 800,000 lines. The Mono project (just mono) has 8 fucking million lines, let’s not forget the debugger, compiler and gtk# bindings. (ohloh.net)

Number of lines is not proof of quality. If it was, Windows Vista would be one of the most fantastic programs ever, rather than a slow, bloated, hog. In my personal opinion Windows 2000 was a lot nicer.

I have met the nicest and most helpful people I know on the Mono project. Even the most busy and experienced of devs (hello mhutch and lluis!) take time off to help (and spoonfeed) me whenever I need.

Glad you’ve had a good experience.

C# is plain awesome. I used to think it was bloated and MS specific (just like most of you), but an awesome standard library, coupled with type safety, innovative features and tight IDE integration make it a killer platform for development.

I could go on about how blissful an experience it is to write code in a full featured, statically typed language. But you’re too full of propoganda to listen.

C# seems spectacularly inefficient to me. But hey, whatever turns your crank.

Monotremes and Monotrolls

Yep. Monotremes and Monotrolls. Monotremes, because they lay eggs. Monotrolls, because in their efforts to get Mono more widely accepted, it appears that they’ve had the opposite effect. There have been so many articles and posts in the last several weeks, that it’s difficult to properly cover them all.

But it’s worth trying.

Exactly when the fireworks started I don’t know. I know that there has been concerns about Mono for years, and yes, I’m one of those who have been automatically removing Mono from any Linux installs I do for years. However things have really heated up within the last month or so.

One of the earliest articles in the current war was Mono: An Infectious Disease. Nice title. Sure to get both sides fired up. But is the title accurate?

A couple of days later Sam Varghese posted an article titled Fedora casts Mono into outer darkness. Not quite as inflammatory, though it makes one wonder if Sam isn’t a Mormon.

But the war didn’t really start there. It appears that the person to blame for the war is an out of work programmer, who made an April Fools Day post statingIn my attempts to fight my own boredom, as an unemployed hacker[1], I took on myself to do something: porting Tomboy to C++. It is actually not that hard, just a lot of work to do manually because there is over a dozen of thousands of lines of code. This show me that the door is open to reimplementing Gtk# software (or parts) in C++ with not too many problems, making it easy to have them available for C applications.

Now he wasn’t trying to start a war, but that was the effect. On April 6th he posted about the 0.10 release of Gnote, and the comments were interesting. The Tomboy community was outraged that someone could try to out Tomboy, Tomboy. But hey, this is Free Software. Why do you think we have KDE, XFCE, Gnome, Enlightenment, etc. Because someone was scratching an itch.

Of course the anti-mono folks spotted a chance. You get rid of one more mono application, you are that much closer to removing Mono. So then Jo Shields posted an article in Apebox called Fitting the kitchen sink onto a CD. In this article it’s pointed out that space could be saved on the Ubuntu CD if certain things were done. These things would have increased the number of programs that depend on Mono in the Ubuntu install CD to three (Tomboy, Fspot, and the newest one would be Banshee).

At this point things started to go downhill fast. Banshee would have replaced Rhythmbox, so the Rhythmbox fans were upset. It would have increased the number of Mono programs, so the anti-mono camp was upset. About the only people not upset were the bloggers like me. We were getting a ton of great copy!

Me and Ubuntu tried to clear up some of the issues, with a series of articles, Disinformation Disinfected, Pt. 1, Disinformation Disinfected, Pt. 2: The False Dilemma, and Disinformation Disinfected, pt. 3: Banshee in Ubuntu, and then wrote a final article I give up.

Various things appeared to be happening in the Ubuntu Forums including accusations of censorship. Linux Canuck declared that Ubuntu is driving me away. Nice good catchy title.

Carla Schroeder offered a chance for Mono proponents to set the record straight and Jo Shields took her up on this, with an article titled A Guest Essay In Favor of Mono.

At which point Robert Millan replied with Mono in the default install? which inspired Robert Millan in the default troll?, and finally The very best of anti-Mono zealots.

So what does it all mean?

It’s quite simple. A fairly large number of us have severe issues with Mono. We have concerns about whether Mono should be included as part of a Linux Distribution CD because there is no way to be sure of the legal status of the Mono project at the present time. We don’t believe that the Mono cheerleaders are acting and thinking logically. We don’t believe their assurances that Mono is unencumbered with Microsoft patents, because quite frankly they cannot make that statement. Only Microsoft can make it, and Microsoft, at present, is remaining curiously silent.

Oh Hell

You know there are some things that really piss me off. Some goof ball using the name “Yggdrasil” posted a comment to my article Trolls and Linux and the rotten little son of a bitch had the gall to call me sensitive!

Actually I find it quite funny. I write about trolls, and lo and behold, Yggie, a fairly well known troll shows up, and proceeds to write a pro-Microsoft screed which accuses me of being dishonest. Think of the odds. I write something critical of Microsoft, on a blog that almost no one knows exists besides a few friends. It gets one mention on a relatively popular site, and I get a pro-Microsoft troll popping up the next day. A fairly well known troll. What does this tell you?

It tells me that no dissent is tolerated. If you are anti-Microsoft, and you get noticed, someone takes action. Someone proceeds to tell you why you are wrong, what you should think, what is allowed and what isn’t.

And the evidence is of this everywhere. The Inquirer used to publish a lot of articles critical of Microsoft. After Mike Magee sold The Inquirer, the articles critical of Microsoft dropped off dramatically. Even Charlie Demerjian, one of the best writers at The Inq no longer calls out Microsoft as often, and as hard as he used to (I have no doubt that Charlie will disagree with me on this, and yes, I will let him know that I wrote it). Also check out the comments to the few stories which aren’t complementary about Microsoft. The trolls are our in force for every one.

The Register also used to be independent. In the early years, it was very critical of Microsoft, it no longer is. It still publishes The Bastard Operator from Hell but The Reg is but a milksop these days.

Carla Schroder mentions trolls in her CV:

It was not always easy; you definitely need a thick skin in the FOSS world. It’s a self-selected group, so it’s chock-full of mavericks, the socially-inept, just plain trolls, and all manner of folks who don’t understand the importance of courtesy and respect. But these are not representative of the excellent people who really do things. The best FOSS people are polite and pleasant. I do not believe that anyone is so invaluable and indispensable that they can be excused from common courtesy. The world itself is full of mean people, and there is no remedy other than learning how to deal with it. Girls are still often raised to be passive doormats, and they are not taught how to set and achieve goals, or that they are even worthy of going after what they really want. There are no shortcuts; all we can do is dig in, do our best, and not allow the naysayers to derail us.

In the article that started this, Carla got 58 comments. They are interesting reading, and proof that her article is accurate. Ken at the Helios Project has also noticed the trolls, and that they are getting worse.

Now I don’t hang out at Paul Thurrott’s Windows Super Site. Why would I? I don’t use Windows. So why do so many Windows users show up on Linux blogs? Insecurity. They’ve spent years trying to keep Windows running, through blue screens of death and other disasters, and now they’ve got to try to make the rest of us put up with the same shit? Are they crazy. Well, yes, They have to be. Either than or they are still living in their parent’s basements, and have nothing else to do with their time.

And they reflect the company. Which reflects it’s founder. Lazy. Insecure. Greedy.

That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it.

Trolls and Linux

I was reading an article by Carla Schroder titled “Don’t Get Me Wrong, Linux Sucks as Much as Windows”. Carla has seen an upswing in the number of trolls, many pretending to be Linux users.

Really, it’s not surprising. It’s easier for Microsoft to encourage trolls, than it is to fix the problems with Windows, which are of their own making. I’d go into detail, but it’s nearly 2:30, and I have yard work to do tomorrow!

But I liked the comment I posted to that article, so I decided I’d post it here as well.

By the way, I love Carla’s writing, and recommend her articles highly.

*****

Carla,

This is not at all surprising. Entrepreneur shape their corporations in their own image. Some times this is good. Some times this is bad. Microsoft is a good example of an entrepreneur who is insecure, greedy, and lazy. This evaluation is based on Microsoft’s actions as a corporation (I have never meet Bill Gates).

Microsoft holds 90 percent of operating system pre-installs. But it is afraid of Linux (and it was afraid of Netscape, and is deathly afraid of Apple). Why? Considering their market share, Linux should be a minor irritant. Instead you get things like the “Get the Facts Campaign”, which was so totally ludicrous that they dropped it. But they dropped long after the damage was done – they made themselves a laughing stock with that campaign.

Another example is the “Laptop Hunters” campaign. Why is Microsoft so scared of Apple? Apple’s market share is so small, that the company is only a pimple on the face of IT. True, it’s an expanding pimple, but 6 percent? Why even dignify it with a response? Because they don’t think they can compete with Apple. Heck, look at the Amazon top 100 list of computers. About the only ones that sell for more than $1000,00 are made by Apple. Microsoft doesn’t think that they can deliver an operating system that will make a computer worth more that $1000,00 to consumers.

And then there’s ODF support, or should I say lack of support. Microsoft is the only ODF implementer that messed up the implementation. It wasn’t for lack of talent, Microsoft has talented employees. Microsoft is scared of ODF, because it can be used (in implemented by a company that isn’t deliberately trying to break it) in a wide range of software. No Lock-In. Microsoft doesn’t want this. They want people to use Microsoft XML (Microsoft calls it Office Open XML, but while it may be used by Office, it isn’t Open since it’s impossible for anyone else to implement). If they are using Microsoft XML, they are locked into Microsoft Office. They are scared that given the option, people will use software from other vendors. They are so insecure that they don’t believe that they can compete in the Office Suite market without lock in.

Microsoft doesn’t want component manufacturers to release their hardware specifications. If component manufacturers do release the specifications, another operating system might be able to use that hardware, and Microsoft doesn’t believe that they can compete in the operating system market. So the company tries to avoid having to compete, but making it hard for other operating systems to use the hardware.

Microsoft is greedy. Why would a company sell a sub-standard operating system (Windows Vista 7 for Netbooks) and encourage people to upgrade? Who would produce six different versions of the same operating system, with different capabilities, using 99.99% the same source code, and prices ranging from $114.00 to $340.00? Greed.

Again, Microsoft is greedy. When they eliminated floppy disks as an install medium for compact discs the price of Windows increased, even though the install medium price dropped dramatically.

Microsoft is lazy. Why offer 6 versions of desktop Windows, and 4 or 5 versions of Server Windows, all of which use virtually the same source code? Often the only difference between versions is that one version has an artificial limit of some sort (such as number of users) while the next one doesn’t. But it’s easier to do that, than to design something that truly is different, with new features that would attract more customers.

Microsoft is lazy. Rather than producing the best operating system in the world, one that would have users beating a path to their door, they produce an operating system that is pedestrian, and then try to block anyone else from the market by exclusionary deals and “Marketing Bonuses”.

And of course we have the Internet. Microsoft would rather pay trolls to trash Linux and OSX, rather than producing something that is so much better than Linux or OSX, that you’d be crazy to use either. They would rather use advertising money to “bend editorial views” than produce something that reviewers would love.

With the amount of talent that Microsoft employs, they should be able to totally blow away Apple, totally blow away Linux, and make users so happy that they’d be crazy to use anything other than Windows. They could do this. But they are too insecure, too greedy, and too lazy to do this.

And if they don’t change, it is going to kill the company. Read their SEC filings, the company is in bad shape. Not as bad as GM or Chrysler, but unless something is done, the company is headed for deep trouble. The current management team is a large part of this, They were hand picked by the company founder, and reflect his views. Steve Ballmer is a good salesman. He might be a great salesman. But as a company manager, he’s terrible.

So, yes. You get a lot of trolls. People who say, “I’ve been running Linux for 5 years, and it’s really not that good,” because Microsoft would rather encourage trolls, than make a great product. If you check the Apple news sources and blogs, you see the exact same sort of posts, stating that OSX just doesn’t work as well as Windows, that it doesn’t support the right software, that it isn’t really reliable, etc. Whether it’s Linux or Apple that they are attacking, all of these people are lying. The proof is in the targets. Microsoft thinks that Apple and Linux are dangerous. They don’t think that the BSD based operating systems are, so they don’t get attacked in the same way, or at the same level. They don’t think that Solaris is dangerous either, and you’ll note in the Solaris blogs that you don’t see this sort of attack very much either. You will if they decide either BSD or Solaris is dangerous.

And it’s a terrible waste. Because Microsoft, if it wanted, could produce something fantastic. They have the talent. They have the capabilities. They don’t have the drive.

Until they get the drive, I’ll avoid using Microsoft products, and I’ll advise others not to. And when I see trolls, I’ll fight them in the forums. I hate dishonesty.